JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The Fleet and Family Services Center (FFSC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville announced Feb. 7 that it is now one of five centers across the Navy to provide a full-time Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) liaison.
The program helps meet the needs of families with dependents that have physical, mental and/or emotional disabilities.
"Our goal is to give Sailors the opportunity to excel in their careers by addressing the special needs of their exceptional family members - such as chronic medical conditions, mental health, developmental or educational requirements, adaptive equipment or assistive technology devices and services," said EFMP Coordinator Wayne Hamm.
In addition to Jacksonville, EFMP liaisons are now located at Fleet and Family Support Centers in San Diego; Bremerton, Wash.; Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, Va.
"One of my concerns is misinformation concerning EFMP. There is absolutely no reason for a Sailor to fear disclosing his or her family's special need to their command. Raising a child with exceptional needs will not have a negative effect on your naval career," said Hamm.
"In fact, EFMP is designed to enhance a Sailor's career by ensuring the Department of Defense and Navy provide resources that travel with the family to new assignment locations. EFMP enrollment information enables Navy detailers to consider a family member's special need requirements during the assignment process and select a duty station with appropriate resources that address special needs," said Hamm.
Hamm works in partnership with Naval Hospital Jacksonville EFMP Coordinator Galya Taborn to increase awareness of the program with tenant commanders, executive officers, command master chiefs and ombudsmen throughout the installation.
Taborn, the station's EFMP coordinator since 2002, welcomes Hamm for his experience in education, training and development.
"Wayne is a retired chief (Damage Controlman) as well as a licensed special education teacher - so he understands both the challenges of our Navy lifestyle and the stress that comes with an exceptional family member," said Taborn.
Recently, Hamm and Taborn teamed up to present an EFMP indoctrination to inform military personnel that EFMP is open to active duty family members who are:
* Enrolled in DEERS.
* Has a chronic medical, psychological or special education needs.
* Resides with sponsor. Exceptions include family member receiving inpatient care or if sponsor is a geographical bachelor.
Hamm said that EFMP enrollment is mandatory, as outlined in OPNAVINST 1744.2, and must be done when special needs are identified, or at lease nine months prior to the sponsor's projected rotation date. This is to ensure that duty station assignments match the needs of the family member.
"We also network with local organizations and experts outside the gate to provide collaborative assistance to special needs families," said Hamm.
For more news from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, visit www.navy.mil/local/nasjax/.